THE ART OF
eCOMMERCE

We cultivated an online shopping solution for our client, Distell Vineyards and Estates that’s creating a space for wine enthusiasts to browse, own and cellar a wealth of outstanding wines and spirits. Here’s how…

What our client had to say…

“The new Vinotèque website provides a far richer experience for consumers and enables our brands to close the loop between online marketing and direct sales.”

Michael Krynauw, Group Digital Marketing Manager

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In 2013, Distell Vineyards and Estates approached us to discuss their Vinotèque website. At the time, the site offered a selection of some of South Africa’s most distinctive wines and recognised spirits, but our client had far bigger plans for the platform.

Our Challenge

The brief had us excited from the start – create an eCommerce offering that would provide a single integrated solution; one through which all direct to consumer marketing and sales would be conducted. In addition, our target audience of wine enthusiasts across South Africa should be able to browse and purchase from an even wider selection of premium wines and award-winning local and international cognacs, whiskies and brandies, as well as cellar their purchases, where appropriate, at the Vinotèque’s Wine Bank. And, they should be able to do all of this in no more than eight steps from start to finish.

With the brief in, the challenge set, and us in control of the existing Vinotèque site, it was time for the part we really love – taking the thoughts, ideas, and objectives and bringing them to life in a way that captivates audiences and keeps them coming back for more.

Our Solution

A website inspired by the exquisite beauty of the Cape Winelands, which gave visitors all the features they were looking for, and then some. The user journey was designed in-house and delivered a slick, easy-to-navigate experience. On arrival at the site, a carousel introduced the Vinotèque concept – convenience, quality, and variety – as well as the current promotion(s). Visitors were then able to link directly to each area of the site via graphical cues. Visitors were accompanied throughout their journey by a gold shopping cart that enabled them to click directly through to their shopping basket once their purchases were complete.

The site’s other highlights included a wine comparison feature that enabled consumers to compare the characteristics of several wines at once according to their personal preference (vintage, cultivar, area of origin, alcohol etc.), as well as concise tasting notes and food pairing suggestions to help facilitate the right decision.

During the site build, it became clear to both us and our client that the time was ripe to redesign the Vinotèque CI and give the brand an exciting new look.

“The decision to incorporate our eCommerce offering and Wine Bank service in a single, online destination means that buying, cellaring and appreciating rare, special wines has never been easier or more accessible.”

– Michael van Deventer, Vinotèque eCommerce Manager

Showing our true colours

Why have one colour palette, when you can have two? The first palette of fresh, crisp greens would feature on the site during summer and reflect the white wines on offer, while the second would be showcased during winter to echo the richness of the red wines available for purchase.

To the drawing board

It's the birthplace of all great ideas and it's where we like to start each of our projects. For this one in particular, it meant creating a new CI for the Vinotèque. And where better to start than with the logo? For this task, we created a unique font where the letters intertwined with the very heart of the winemaking process – the vine.

A brand new identity

With the colour palette and logo in place, it was time to lock down the rest of the Vinotèque’s new look. By adding a set of sans-serif fonts to the existing serif fonts and choosing clean, beautiful images, we added a distinctly modern edge to the site and captured the refreshing charm of the Cape Winelands region.

An icon in the making

A carefully crafted new logo, updated fonts and beautiful images. Only one thing was missing... a graphic device that captured the essence of the Vinotèque. And so, we set to work distilling the logo into a three-lettered icon that would represent the brand at a glance.

Technical Requirements

The technical brief from client was extensive and required a solution that was quick loading, scalable, fully updatable and easily expandable to cater for additional eCommerce content and use by other Distell business areas. It had to integrate with SAP, the software that merges each of Distell’s business divisions, as well as with a logistic function to ensure the speedy dispatch of purchases. And of course, it needed to be fully responsive to ensure a seamless experience across all digital devices – from desktops to tablets to mobile phones. It’s the way all websites should be designed. And it’s certainly the way we design ours. But above all, it needed to offer safe, secure transacting in order to keep consumers coming back.

Front End Theme Development

Shopify eCommerce Platform

Fully Responsive

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Our Response

We immediately flagged the SAP integration as our greatest technical challenge and quickly proposed an agile approach, which included developing a Messaging Interface that would update price and stock from SAP and send orders through to it. We also set up a Hetzner Custom Hosting Environment for this interface. During the build, a decision was taken to move over to Shopify and we redeveloped the site for this platform, launching the first Shopify Plus account in South Africa. We also helped integrate ARAMEX as the fulfilment partner on Shopify, and facilitated the payment gateway integration, helping PayGate write the integration code.

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